DJI Mini 4 Pro Drone Announced – Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing, ActiveTrack 360°, 4K 100fps Slow-Mo

September 25th, 2023 Jump to Comment Section 5
DJI Mini 4 Pro Drone Announced - Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing, ActiveTrack 360°, 4K 100fps Slow-Mo

DJI just announced the DJI Mini 4 Pro, the new “Pro” version of its entry-level drone. And finally, it has omnidirectional obstacle sensing, which is a particularly important feature for beginners and also greatly enables enhanced tracking capabilities. It has the same sensor as the DJI Mini 3 Pro, its predecessor, but adds 4K 100p high-speed (slow motion) recording. Let’s dive right into the details.

DJI’s entry-level line of drones, the “Mini” series, has always weighed less than 250 grams (249 grams, to be exact), in order to avoid regulations in many countries that require you to get some sort of drone license or certification that allows you to fly it legally.

Oddly enough though, the first iterations of the DJI Mini didn’t have any type of obstacle detection or avoidance mechanism, meaning you could maneuver it straight into a tree and nothing in DJI’s tech would have stopped you. At the time, only their higher-end (and heavier) Air and Mavic drones offered various degrees of obstacle avoidance. DJI recognized the shortcomings of their entry-level series, and certainly, it presented challenges to squeeze the necessary sensors into the small body while aiming to keep the take-off weight under 250 grams. Step by step, they made progress: the Mini 3 at least got downward vision sensing, and the Mini 3 Pro could sense every direction except laterally.

DJI Mini 4 Pro drone, DJI’s new “entry-level pro drone”. Image credit: DJI

Obstacle sensing and avoidance get omnidirectional capabilities in DJI Mini 4 Pro

Finally, with the DJI Mini 4 Pro, they managed to do it all: omnidirectional obstacle sensing is now a reality, and the DJI Mini 4 Pro can also fly laterally without any blind spots. This, in turn, greatly enhances its tracking capabilities.

ActiveTrack 360º in DJI Mini 4 Pro

DJI drones offer various semi-automatic or automatic tracking features that enable even less experienced pilots to execute fairly complex shots. As many of these tracking features mean that the drone will fly autonomously, using them in previous versions of the Mini meant there was a greater risk of crashing the drone if one or several directions weren’t covered by the drone’s obstacle sensing. With omnidirectional sensing in the Mini 4 Pro, more of these features are included and can be used with more confidence.

FocusTrack offers three modes: Spotlight, Point of Interest, and ActiveTrack 360°. The accuracy of tracking has been greatly improved according to DJI, meaning the system should now be able to quickly auto-recognize and re-plan the tracking route after losing the subject.

ActiveTrack 360° equips the drone for various shooting scenarios. Camera movements like circling, pulling in, and pulling away can be executed with the new Trace wheel interface, which should be easy for beginners to learn.

The intuitive new Trace Wheel Interface in DJI Mini 4 Pro enables the intuitive execution of fairly complex moves using ActiveTrack 360º technology. Image credit: DJI

The new omnidirectional obstacle sensing enables the planning of flight routes in advance while at the same time bypassing obstacles, which should result in smoother and more stable tracking. (We will thoroughly test these features when we review the drone at a later point in time.)

Same image sensor, better processing

The DJI Mini 4 Pro seems to share the same sensor with its predecessor, the Mini 3 Pro, because the specs are the same: 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor, f/1.7 aperture, 48MP stills resolution, 4K/60fps HDR video. DJI claims image processing uses a new platform, which is probably what enables the drone to capture 4K/100fps, suitable for slow-motion shooting. The Mini 3 pro could only do 120fps in 1080p resolution, and that mode has always looked notoriously bad in most DJI drones. Let’s wait and see if the slow-motion recording quality of the new drone meets professional standards once we conduct our review.

The DJI Mini 4 Pro is more aerodynamic. Image credit: DJI

DJI also says the Mini 4 Pro now offers “dual native ISO fusion”, without giving additional details. This might be a new mode that shoots at the dual native ISO settings (which were ISO 100 and 800 in the DJI Mini) at the same time, and fuses the image in order to get a cleaner image (?) – time (and reviews) will tell.

Additionally, DJI claims there will be less noise from the same sensor due to an “enhanced noise reduction algorithm” in Night Shots video mode. The small sensor drones are usually not very good in low light (and in fact, flying them in the dark is prohibited in many countries), so it will be interesting to see if low-light shots are more usable with the new drone.

Like the Mini 3 Pro, the Mini 4 Pro supports 10-bit recording. This feature was added to the Mini 3 Pro via firmware update upon its release, rendering many of my initial findings much less relevant, which is why I shelved my finished video review before publication (in case you wondered why we never published a review for the DJI Mini 3 Pro). What’s new is that the Mini 4 Pro can record D-Log M, while the Mini 3 Pro could only record in D-Cinelike. There’s also HLG recording in video, and in photo 48MP RAW and Smart Photo technology (an automatic mode that recognizes the type of scene and optimizes HDR imaging).

True vertical shooting

To address the omnipresent need for 9:16 vertical video for the likes of Instagram and TikTok, as with its predecessor, the DJI Mini 4 Pro can turn its camera 90º to truly record “real” vertical video.

O4 image transmission, up to 34 min flight time

The DJI Mini 4 Pro uses DJI’s O4 video transmission (at 1080p/60fps), so you can expect very stable and high-quality wireless video transmission.

Normal flight time is up to 34 minutes on one charge, and when the (available separately ) Intelligent Flight Battery Plus is used, this can be extended to 45 minutes (just keep in mind that if you use this battery, you will be over the 250-gram limit).

The ND filter set (16/64/256) for the DJI Mini 4 Pro. Image credit: DJI

Accessories – wide-angle lens attachment and ND filter set

Optional accessories are a wide-angle lens attachment that gives a 100º field-of-view, and an ND filter set with ND16/64/256 filters – I have no clue whatsoever why they skipped the 128 filter…

Price and availability

As usual, various bundles are available for the DJI Mini 4 Pro, and you can get the drone either with the DJI RC-N2 or the DJI RC2 remote controller. Prices start at EUR 799 / GBP 689, and EUR 1,129 / GBP 979 for the DJI Mini 4 Pro Fly More Combo. Usually, DJI drones start shipping immediately but check in the buy links below (as soon as they are available).

The DJI RC2 controller includes a screen, while the RC-N2 is screenless and uses your smartphone. Image credit: DJI

What’s your take on the DJI Mini 4 Pro? Will you enter the drone game now or upgrade to the new drone? Let us know in the comments below.


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